Pittsburgh – Pitt senior Jarred Holley earned yet another spot on a preseason watch list as he was one of 35 players named as a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, annually given to the best defensive back in college football. Holley is also on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for the top defensive player in the nation.
Already a three-year starter in the Pitt secondary, Holley (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) enters his final season with the Panthers looking to earn his third consecutive All-Big East honor. He was selected to the second team as a sophomore and earned first team honors last season as a junior. He was also a Big East All-Academic honoree.
Holley was second on the team with 67 tackles, including five tackles for loss and two sacks last year. He added three pass breakups, one interception and a forced fumble, while starting all 13 games at safety.
The 2012 season marks the first for Paul Chryst as head coach at Pitt. Chryst comes to Pittsburgh following an accomplished eight-year tenure at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a two-time finalist for the Broyles Award, annually presented to college football's top assistant coach.
Widely recognized as one of the game's finest strategists, Chryst directed a Wisconsin offense last year that averaged a school-record 44.1 points per game en route to the Badgers' second consecutive Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth.